Sports

Wildcats must win at Lake Stevens

The defending Wesco North champions and winners of the 2006 State 4A football championship will be battling for a playoff spot Friday night at Lake Stevens.

“We have to win this one — this one’s a must win,” said Oak Harbor Wildcats football coach Jay Turner.

A win against the Vikings wouldn’t guarantee the Wildcats a playoff spot, but it would keep them in the mix as several teams compete for the three Wesco North positions. After last week’s action, Marysville Pilchuck tops the league at 4-0, Lake Stevens is 3-1, Snohomish stands at 3-1 and Oak Harbor is 2-2. Rounding out the standings are Stanwood at 2-3, Arlington 1-3, and Monroe 0-5.

If the Wildcats can win Friday, they would no doubt face another must-win situation Halloween night, Oct. 31, when the scary Marysville Pilchuck team, 7-0 overall, visits Oak Harbor to end the regular season schedule. But first they must deal with Lake Stevens.

“They’re good, they’re second in the league,” coach Turner said Tuesday. “They’ve got a good quarterback and good receivers.” Oak Harbor fans who make the trip to Lake Stevens can expect to see Wildcat defenders try to pressure the passer to keep the Viking offense in check.

Meanwhile, Oak Harbor will try to crank up its offense a notch after escaping with a 3-0 win over Arlington last Friday before a large, enthusiastic homecoming crowd at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Turner said the two teams battled it out all night, generally between the 20 yard lines. He credited the slow offensive night to a brisk 30 mph west wind that swept through the stadium, keeping the aerial game grounded for most of the night.

Arlington’s best chance to score came in the third quarter but a throw from the 20-yard-line was intercepted by Oak Harbor’s John Higbee in the corner of the end zone. “That cut off their best drive of the night,” Turner said.

The only score of the game came in the first quarter when Oak Harbor’s Kevin Flavin booted a 25-yard field goal, putting the hosts ahead 3-0.

Turner never thought that score would hold up. “I didn’t think it would be enough,” he said. That’s why he shunned another field goal later in the period and elected to go for it on fourth down, an effort that fell short. “I didn’t think six points would be enough,” he said.

But thanks to Higbee’s timely interception and some stout defense, three points was enough. Oak Harbor managed only 189 total yards, but held the Eagles to a meager 142. Donovan Hunt led the Wildcat ball carriers with 56 yards on 14 carries. Stephen Lewis caught a 30-yard pass to account for more than half of Oak Harbor’s 57 yards in the air.

Lewis was also a big contributor on defense, making a trio of important sacks on third down to force the Eagles to kick.

It wasn’t a thrilling homecoming game, but the results were what counted. “We’ll take a win any way we can get it,” Turner said.

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